Take Responsibility

One argument against homeschooling claims that people hurt the public schools by homeschooling.  According to this theory, it is the dedicated, involved parents who withdraw their children from public schools in order to homeschool, leaving fewer parents who will help.  If those parents would remain in the school system, the story goes, then they could make the public schools better.

When this argument is applied to other situations, it falls apart.

  • Many parents volunteer in their children’s schools because they want their children to have a good education.  They do not continue to volunteer after their children have graduated, yet they are not accused of hurting the schools by not volunteering once their children no longer are affected by the system.
  • Other dedicated parent-volunteers move out of the district.  They are not accused of hurting the school by moving and no longer participating in the schools.

It is ludicrous to claim that nobody can ever leave the district and must volunteer forever.  It is equally ludicrous to claim that one reason for leaving the district is wrong, but other reasons are acceptable.  Fit parents do what is best for their children.  Some invest their time volunteering in the local public schools because it is the best way they know to give their kids a better education given their time constraints and family situation.  That does mean that it is wrong for someone else to choose a different method of giving their children the best education possible.  Leaving the district, whether it is due to graduation, relocation, or any other reason, does not actively cause harm to the schools.

Homeschool parents choose a different method of improving their kids’ education than enrolling their children in the local public school and volunteering to help the teacher.  They do the teaching themselves.  That does not preclude them from volunteering in the public schools.  Many communities do have homeschool parents who volunteer in the schools and serve on the school board.  People who want to work to make the public schools better can do so whether or not they have children in the system.

A case can certainly be made that students need their parents to be involved, but it does not hurt schools for parents to be involved only in their own children’s education.  Johnny’s parents should be involved in Johnny’s education, and it is benevolent of them to assist with other children, too.  They are not to be faulted if they decline to assist with other children or expect Jimmy’s parents to take responsibility for Jimmy.

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